The Frans Brüggen Editions

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Program: #14-04   Air Date: Jan 20, 2014

Teldec has released a 12 CD compilation of recordings by the great recorder master; we will hear some of his late Renaissance and early Baroque contributions to the recorded repertoire.

NOTE: All of the music on this program is from the newly-remastered 12 CD set dedicated to the recorder soloist Frans Brüggen. Das Alte Werk/Teldec/Warner CD 2564 65836-1.

From Crochet: This monumental set of recordings, originally on Das Alte Werk LP, collects Frans Bruggen performing a variety of pre-baroque, baroque and rococco works for recorder(s). Frans Bruggen put the recorder on the map as a solo instrument, and no one before or since has made such a huge impact, nor had Bruggen's musicality and expressiveness.

Once the world's most famous recorder player, today Frans Bruggen is considered among the foremost experts in the performance of eighteenth century music. He studied the recorder with Kees Otten and flute at the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum. In addition, he took courses in musicology at the University of Amsterdam. At the age of 21, he was appointed professor at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and later held position as Erasmus Professor at Harvard University and Regent's Professor at the University of Berkeley, making him one of the youngest musical scholars of the time though still remaining, as Luciano Berio wrote, 'a musician who is not an archaeologist but a great artist'.

  1. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 01
  2. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 02 Italian Recorder Sonatas
  3. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 03 (Englische Ensemblemusik)
  4. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 04 (Early Baroque Recorder Music)
  5. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 05 (Kammermusik des Spätbarocks)
  6. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 06 (Französische Blockflötensuiten
  7. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 07 (Französische Blockflötensonate
  8. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 08 (Vivaldi: Concerti)
  9. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 09 (Händel: Blockflötensonaten)
  10. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 10 (Telemann: Concerti)
  11. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 11 (Bach: Kammermusik und Orch.)
  12. Frans Brüggen Edition Vol. 12

Volume 3: English Ensemble Music

  • Dances and Airs a 5 : Pavan / Galliard / The Honie Suckle / The Sighes / The Night Watch / Heigh-Ho Holiday recorders and viols from Pavans Galliards Almains and other short Aeirs both Grave and Light in Five Parts for Viols Violins or Other Musicall Winde Instruments London 1599 (ANTHONY HOLBORNE).
  • In Nomine a 4 four recorders (JOHN TAVERNER).
  • In Nomine Crye a 5 (CHRISTOPHER TYE).
  • In Nomine a 5 (WILLIAM BYRD).
  • Bonny Sweet Robin Ricercar a 4 from Taffel-Consort Hamburg (THOMAS SIMPSON).
  • The leaves be green Browning a 5 (WILLIAM BYRD).
  • La Girandola a 2. Il Lamento a 2. La Caccia a 2 recorder and viol from The first Booke of Canzonets to Two Voyces London 1595 ( THOMAS MORLEY).
  • Fantasia a 3 recorder two viols (GEORGE JEFFREYS).
  • Solo in G major treble recorder and basso continuo (ANDREW PARCHAM).
  • Divisions upon an Italian ground treble recorder and basso continuo from: The delightful companion 1686 (ROBERT CARR).
  • Concerto a 7 in D major recorder sixth flute strings and basso continuo (WILLIAM BABELL).
  • Sonata Number 4 in F major treble recorder and basso continuo (JOHANN CHRISTOPH PEPUSCH).
  • Chaconne Three parts upon a ground in F major three treble recorders violoncello and harpsichord (HENRY PURCELL).

Volume 4: Early Baroque Recorder Music

  • Batali tenor recorder from Der Fluyten Lust-Hof volume II Amsterdam 1649. Doen Daphne d'over schoone Maeght from Der Fluyten Lust-Hof I. Pavane Lachryme from Der Fluyten Lust-Hof II. Engels Nachtigaeltje from Der Fluyten Lust-Hof I (JACOB VAN EYCK).
  • Canzon per Canto solo e Basso continuo `La Bernadina` from II primo libro delle canzoni Rome (GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI).
  • Sonata in D major tenor recorder organ and violoncello from: Concerti ecclesiastici Milan. Sonata in G major from Concerti ecclesiastici (GIOVANNI PAOLO CIMA).
  • Canzon a 4 in A major. Canzon in A major La Rosignola (GIOVANNI BATTISTA RICCIO).
  • Paduan a 4 in D major (SAMUEL SCHEIDT).
  • Sonata in G major (ANON. Polish/German).

From Fanfare:

Among the roster of notable accompanying artists are violinist Alice Harnoncourt; cellist Anner Bylsma; flautist Leopold Stasny (still misspelled “Stastny” as in the complete Bach edition I reviewed in 36:2, though here Brüggen’s first name is properly given as “Frans” instead of misspelled as “Franz”); harpsichordists Gustav Leonhardt, Bob van Asperen, and Herbert Tachezi. Nikolaus Harnoncourt appears as both a viola da gambist and as conductor of the Concentus musicus. That ensemble, and the Leonhardt Consort, Concerto Amsterdam, and Chamber Orchestra of Amsterdam, variously appear on CDs 8, 10, 11, and 12.

With the benefit of some 50 years of hindsight since the first of these recordings was made, they can at times sound just a tad stately and old-fashioned in spots (the somewhat foursquare Bach disc is the one item that is no longer competitive with the best performances available today). However, by and large they wear their age extremely well, both sonically and interpretively. More remarkable is the sound of Brüggen’s playing on his various instruments. Compared to the silken-smooth tone of recorder virtuosos from the succeeding generation—Michala Petri and Marion Verbruggen, to name just two—his tone sounds somewhat breathy and woody. One might analogously think of the difference in feel between cashmere wool and a sturdy homespun variety, though the difference here is less extreme. But the homespun variety has a distinctive feel and sturdy durability that are attractive in their own right, and of course the present plentiful crop of top-notch recorder players owe everything to Brüggen’s pioneering efforts. Listening to Brüggen, one still marvels at his tonal solidity, breath control, dead-on intonation, nimble fingering, and ability to shade such factors as dynamics or speed and intensity of vibrato to expressive effect, all allied to the kind of penetrating interpretive intelligence associated with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in the realm of Lieder. (Brüggen also did much of the scrupulous musicological research needed to bring many of these works back into the active performing repertoire.) Throughout the set he receives worthy support, though the one Telemann Concerto recorded with André Rieu (father of the pop violinist) and the Chamber Orchestra of Amsterdam is of an old-fashioned cast belonging to the decade just prior to the first blossoming of period-performance practice.

In sum, this set is a fitting tribute to Brüggen, in his 79th year and just 50 years past his recording debut, and ought to be an essential acquisition for all recorder aficionados and fanciers of baroque chamber music as well. Highest recommendation.